Monday, February 21, 2005

The Dead Zone

January and February are notorious for being "dumping months" for films. Films that are terrible or won't attract a large audience are slated to be released this month and then die a slow death.

But something strange is happening this year.

Some of the films being released are still terrible or at least not worthy of summer or Christmas marketing dollars, but people are going to see them. Some of these movies aren't just making money, they are making A LOT of money. Let's look at some examples:

Hitch: It's been out 2 weeks and has made $94 million. This is a new record for romantic comedies released for Valentine's day. Of course, it was pricey for a romcom, but it is still in the profit zone at this point.

Are We There Yet?: By rights, this film should have made $10 million and disappeared into the ether. Instead this juvenille Ice Cube helmed comedy has made $71 million and counting. The cost? $32 million. I see an Are We There Yet Again? in the future with that kind of bank rolling in (and still rolling in!)

Boogeyman, White Noise, Darkness and Hide and Seek: Varying levels of profit for these four horror films, but each has made a profit, and that's the point of this. These films are making money!

Of course, there's always the exception. I'm sure the studio thought Elektra could do no wrong -- hot chick, action movie, dead release schedule. However, people could smell the stinker from miles away and stayed away. This weekend Son of the Mask was released and made about $10 million. It cost $84 million, so this one proves the point too. There is no saving a truly horrible film, no matter what time of year you release it.

But here's my point. There's clearly an audience out there to see even halfway decent films (and even some terrible ones). Shouldn't Hollywood get its act together and start taking advantage of this? A few films have this year and I'm sure some of the success was a shocker.

Now The Dead Zone that is post-Labor Day pre-Halloween...that's going to need some work.

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